While the Lakers have been linked to a number of big names in free agency, they will inevitably need to fill out their roster with less-heralded players to build a quality supporting cast. Given their cap situation, adding another superstar would limit them to almost exclusively signing players to veteran minimum contracts – meaning they need to find some diamonds in the rough.
Lakers Underrated Free Agency Target #1: Isaiah Thomas
The Lakers are in desperate need of a starting caliber point guard (at least one to keep the seat warm until the Alex Caruso show takes over) and Isaiah Thomas has shown to be elite when at his best. While Thomas and James have teamed up before, the circumstances were considerably different as Thomas was plagued by injuries while trying to merge his ball-dominant style of play alongside the more talented floor general in LeBron.
This time around Thomas isn’t riding off an All-NBA nod and seems to be relatively healthy. The man just wants to get on the court and play ball and for a veteran minimum contract, it might just be worth the risk given his upside. Especially if he can learn to thrive in a role as the fourth or fifth option the Lakers could really be cooking.
The Lakers can afford to take a gamble here as long as they can bring on board a competent backup caliber point guard as if the Thomas experiment goes awry, they can simply sit him on the end of the bench without losing any sleep.
Lakers Underrated Free Agency Target #2: Wayne Ellington
Wayne Ellington is a veteran sharpshooter who could fit the Lakers roster perfectly. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, a player’s shot is usually the last thing to go and the Lakers won’t need Ellington to do much besides sit back behind the three-point line and knock down the open shot when he gets it.
The Lakers desperately need shooters and while Ellington COULD command slightly more than the minimum, he might be willing to take a discount to come to LA and chase rings with what is shaping up to be a contender in the West.
Lakers Underrated Free Agency Target #3: David Nwaba
David Nwaba got his start with the Lakers a few years back after working his way up through the NBA G-League. An elite defender without much of an offensive game, Nwaba could still be an incredibly useful tool off the bench to bolster what is shaping up to be a fairly thin backcourt.
While likely never to see starter minutes, Nwaba could be deployed off the bench to make life hell on opposing guards and wear them down while the Lakers’ starters rest. Despite his offensive deficiencies, Nwaba could be a great fit off the bench and a very useful player for the Lakers.